Madagascar to South Africa Day 5 – The art of motor-sailing – boredom sets in


Wednesday 12 October 2016

Tuesday morning motoring turned into Tuesday afternoon motoring which turned into Tuesday night motoring; all to keep up our speed to reach Inhambane on the Mozambique coast where we hope to take shelter from some southerly winds coming up on Wednesday. We want to head south – south winds make that difficult and south winds against a south-setting current make for a washing machine effect which we are keen to avoid.

Motor-sailing means using the engine together with your sails which you hope will catch some wind to make good progress. The trick is with light winds you often find the sea state is still rolling or messy from the previous twelve or more hours of wind. The boat gets idly tossed from side to side. If there is not enough wind to fill the sails, the sails will flap, jar the rigging and all in all it’s bad for everything involved, including us! So we have to trim the sails appropriately furling or unfurling sail so that they don’t flap. Princess Electric Furler of Genoa is still fast asleep and we’ve opted to try and wake her once we are next at anchor so it was manual furling again.

Motoring is particularly dull as you plough along with the low thudding noise of the engine. Far better to be sailing fast with the hull rushing through the water, the sails alive with wind and the only sound being that of the sea. So we played cards, read books and wrote lots of emails hoping people would write back to us so we could then have something to do to write back to them hoping they would again then write back to us.

One exciting email of the day told us that the new edition of the book ‘The Pacific Crossing Guide’ is about to hit the shelves. We contributed to this large volume of work and our congratulations go to Kitty, Jane and the team at the RCC Pilotage Foundation for pulling it all together. A book full of information on the beautiful Pacific and a must read for anyone sailing there. It’s true, really.

Back in the Indian Ocean, even the fishing lures were bored and delivered nothing all day long.

The good news on Wednesday morning is that we are well on course to make Inhambane and are currently sailing with wind alone, no motor – phew! Our homework is not yet done as we need to time our arrival – get there with the northerly winds still blowing and we end up anchored on a lee shore in messy seas. Get there too late and we face on the nose winds and a slog to get in. We hope to be in sometime early this afternoon. We’ll be staying there a couple of nights to wait for the southerly winds to pass before we carry on south.

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3 responses to “Madagascar to South Africa Day 5 – The art of motor-sailing – boredom sets in

  1. Dave hennessy says:

    Well done lads,could be worse,ye could be back in British Isles weather as we are!think cold wet and windy,brexit,devaluation and Boris….

  2. Mike from NZ says:

    Well, summer is starting to show it’s nose in NZ. Am in the Hawkes Bay these days and we had a spectacular 27 degrees yesterday. Was driving along the coastal road between Hasting to Napier via Clive and there was this fantastic off shore breeze mid-afternoon. One of those days where you would die for being able to knock off before 3 and zip up and down the coast with perfect winds at 90 degrees.

  3. Mike from NZ says:

    Those pesky Italians!! The one’s from Genoa in particular! 😉